Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursdays Are For Knit Group And Survivor

What a wonderful time we had a knit group today. Megan's husband returned for another visit before heading back to Australia. Not to be outdone by our Poetic Pat who recited one of her poems for him on his last visit, he brought some Australian poetry to read to us. So while the needles clicked
in the upstairs room, in a small-town, Ontario library, Megan's Australian husband
read Australian poetry to us. It was magical.

And Poetic Pat, not to be outdone, recited yet another of her poems.
It was a long and very funny poem about spring cleaning. Windows so clean, hubby walks into them. Floors so clean, hubby slips and falls on them. She's quite a girl, our Pat.

On the knitting front, Pat finished another stuffed animal. Some child will have fun with this Octopus.

It was good to see Nell back.
She's had some foot trouble this winter and her doctor prescribed sitting. Great prescription for a knitter, Nell.

Marlene is learning to knit.
I recognize the "I'll learn this if it kills me" position of the needles.

Sandy knit this darling baby sleeper with sock yarn
but isn't sure what to do with the crotch gusset.

On to Survivor. Tyson GONE!!! Now we are left with just one annoying arrogant player. It will be interesting to see Coach's reaction tonight. I imagine anger is too mild a word.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My New Toy

I bought myself a new toy.

It is this bike from Canadian Tire. My skis are Verse skis from Slalomon. Verse stands for 'very easy recreational skiing experience'. That's me to a 'T'. When I went bike shopping and came across this bike, called a 'cruiser', I was intrigued.

Always a sucker for nostalgia, I loved it's 'bike-of-my-childhood' features. One speed - that would be as fast as I can pedal. No more, no less. No hand brakes - pedal backwards like the bike I had when I was a kid. Fenders, so the mud won't splash my butt. A big comfy seat - again thinking of the butt and handlebars that have me sitting upright and not in the rounded-shoulder hunch of speed bikes.

Bike of my childhood it might be, but I sure don't remember my heart thumping so hard when I rode my bike as a kid.
I guess I forgot that this
is no longer the body of my childhood.

And I sure don't remember staggering into the house on rubber legs after a bike ride when I was a kid. I guess I forgot that these
are no longer the legs of my childhood.

And when did the wind get so strong? And the little rises in the road so high?

If I live through this one, my next bike will have a motor.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Frolics Of A Different Kind

While many Ontario knitters frolicked at the DKCs Knitters' Frolic in Toronto this weekend, here in Thornbury, we had frolics of a different kind. It was the 18th annual Jazz Festival

Friday night it was Jazzmania. For a $15 ticket, one can see - well, if your endurance holds out - ten jazz bands at different venues around town. Fred and I managed to take in 4. The Charlie Bell Trio with Stevie Vallance at the Loft Art Gallery ;Quattro Plus One at the library; Razzmatazz with Ernie Duff at a local restaurant and the Howlin Dog Vintage Jazz Band at the Marsh Street Centre.

We had to miss the Big Band Saturday with three Swing Bands and the Hogtown Swing Collective dance troupe and the Jazz Brunch Sunday with Peter Appleyard, due to other commitments, but did see Gospelfest on Sunday afternoon. This year's Gospelfest featured the Torchmen Quartet - and OMG they were awesome!!! Four Ontario guys that really know how to raise a roof.

With all of that jazz, accompanied by various parts of my family as house guests for the weekend, it meant little no knitting. My Easter Topper might get done in time for it's 2010 reveal.

I might call it the Easter Topper with a green-trimmed right sleeve.

Which would be true unless I wear it the other way around. Then it would be the
orange trimmed right sleeve None of which matters if it isn't finished. Time to stop frolicking and start knitting.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The World's Best

Last weekend, as I mentioned here, Fred and I were on a road trip. We went to London, our home for 25 years, to visit friends. But no trip to London is complete without a stop at the 'World's Best' workplace- London Yarns.

Shortly after retiring from my real, stressful, full time, it's-just-a-living job, I stopped into London Yarns one day, to pick up a ball of sock yarn. Janet, the store owner, was chatting to another customer, explaining how desperate she was for part time help. One of her staff had quit to go back to school full time. Another's husband had taken a transfer and they had moved away from London. Eavesdropping through the entire conversation, I experienced an epiphany.
"I knit. I know sales. I could do this!!!!"

And that is how this lady
became my boss for five years. I called her (and still do call her) 'World's Best Boss.'

The store, of course, looked great.

I was impressed with this unique way to display buttons and shawl pins.

And it was wonderful seeing one of my co-workers
to get caught up on all her knitting adventures.

Janet must have been doing some housecleaning as she sent me home with memories. Some display items I had knit for the store.

Zebra Socks

Watermelon Socks

Easy Peasy Shawl

And lesson plans and teacher's notes for classes I had taught.

I took a deep breath. It was great to just sniff the atmosphere. No surprise that yarns stores are the 'World's Best' places to work. Even the air is the 'World's Best'.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursdays Are For Knit Gorup And Survivor

We were man-less at knit group today and as difficult as this might seem to some, had fun anyway. Megan did say that Rick intends to return, and is practising his poetry to give Pat a run for her money.
Speaking of Megan, it seems she is knitting very lacey, see-thru things lately.
It would appear that poetic Pat's not the only girl affected by a good looking man.

Those of us not on our second honeymoon did some knitting too. Sharon finished her Einstein Coat. It looks wonderful.
From Sally Melville's Book 1 The Knit Stitch.

Poetic Pat has a great start on her sweater.
I love the colours, Pat.

Doreen, too, has a great start
on her next project. A summer twin set.

Wilma finished the little lilac sweater and it's darling.
And of course, Wilma, our machine, is on to something new. A crocheted blanket.

Bonnie brought in two finished projects. The little, brown, hooded sweater, edged in blanket stitch, with buttons purchased from our trip to Philosophers Wool farm.

And she also finished the blue sweater.
Hmmm. A blue sweater. Must be for a boy. But which side are those buttons on, Bonnie? Dang! Don't you hate it when that happens?

On to Survivor. I could never play the game. My choice for 'next-to-be-gone' is never the choice of the players. How did Coach manage to manipulate that manoeuvre? Brendon gone! Coach and Tyson still there ???

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Three Trips - Three Socks

Fred and I have been on three trips lately. Each trip involved three hours of driving each way.

Late March we went to Peterborough for my 'spring break' visit with my sister. Then back to Peterborough for Easter. And last weekend, we went to London to visit some friends. Both Peterborough and London are three hours from home and that means LOTS of knitting time.

What did I accomplish in all those knitting hours? One pair - mine - of mohair socks finished, and a good start on the first of Fred's pair.

Sock number one, with just the grafting yet to be done.

Here is my answer to forgetting to pack the darning needle for the road trip. (I could have stopped knitting but what fun is that? ) Since I needed wanted the knitting needles to carry on, but couldn't graft the toe shut, I gave this sock a chocolate chimney. A few rounds of a different colour yarn so the stitches wouldn't drop, and my needles were freed up for sock number two. The grafting waited until I arrived home.

And here they are, both done.

Fred's pair are off to a good start.

Right now, this sock and the yarn for number two is resting in the glove compartment of the van waiting for the next trip. Fred's socks are longer than mine, of course. Maybe a four hour trip is needed.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ingrid's Way

That title sounds like a street in a new subdivision. And it may be a street you want to go down, once you hear how Ingrid creates her marvellous knits.

After seeing Ingrid's creations for a couple of years now (see the Thursdays Are For Knit Group & Survivor posts in the side bar) and then taking a close look at the sweater she gave me, I have dissected - to some degree- how she does it!!

She knits differently than most knitters I know, and I thought you might be interested in her techniques. Ingrid inspires me and as I often say about people more brilliant than I -- 'she raises me up out of the morass of mediocrity.'

I hope you might find something in Ingrid's Ways that you can use.

1. Ingrid never uses a pattern. I, too, often knit without a pattern, but it's not the same as Ingrid knitting without a pattern. For me, knitting without a pattern means that I haven't purchased a pattern. But, I do develop a pre-knitting vision, a completed-sweater vision, then do the math before I start to knit.

Ingrid on the other hand, has a starting vision. That's it. Her comments are "Maybe it will have ...." Or - "I think I might do ..." She picks up the needles and yarn and away she goes. The garment evolves as she knits. She lets the yarn speak to her. She often changes her vision mid knit. Brilliant, designer genius, I think!!

2. Ingrid knits loose. Very loose. Mostly, she uses very fine, lace weight yarn -sometimes two strands held together. But always she uses larger-than-normal needles and creates a very loose gauge. This ensures all her garments are fluid and drape well. They drape as a shawl might. This loose gauge avoids the common pitfalls of hand-knit sweaters. Too heavy. too hot. Brilliant, technical genius, I think!!

3. Ingrid seams her garments on the sewing machine!! How easy is that? Brilliant, lazy- knitter genius, I think!!

4. Ingrid knows her figure. Sometimes, she flattens her clothes against her chest and declares "I have no bosom. See, I HAVE NO BOSOM!" She also tells us she has wide hips,
but I have yet to notice that. When Ingrid knits, she knits to disguise what she sees as her 'figure flaws'. Loose gauge and loose-fitting, drapey garments. Often with a bodice seam that falls above the waist line. Brilliant, tailoring genius, I think!

5. Ingrid knits in different directions. If you look closely at Ingrid's knits, you often see the bodice knit side-to-side but the 'skirt' knit in 'normal', vertical fashion. It makes her creations interesting to look at. And allows for easy colour/stitch/yarn/gauge changes. Brilliant, designer genius, I think!

6. Ingrid accessorizes.
A fun-fur collar and made-to-match gauntlets.

I cord edging.

She often adds, bobbles, buttons, beads, I cord, crochet etc to her knitting. These accessories are the (It ain't over until the fat lady sings) 'fat lady' of Ingrid's knitting. Brilliant, fashion genius, I think!

I am thankful for your brilliance, Ingrid. I hope to knit like you some day.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Generous Knitter

Last Thursday at knit group, Ingrid reminded me of my 'great, sweater-give-away'. She had knit a sweater and didn't like the end result. Didn't like the colour. Didn't like the style. Didn't like it enough to keep it.

Considering her options, she realized that even if she ripped and re-knit, she still would not like the colour. Smart girl that Ingrid. She thought about giving it away. Looking at the sweater, she realized 'these are Brenda's colours' and asked if I might like to have the sweater!! ?? !!

Yippee!! I now own an Ingrid original! And it fits me perfectly. Given that Ingrid is about a foot taller and several inches thinner than me, I wonder if there wasn't some subliminal message going on when she knit it. 'Make a sweater for Brenda. Make a sweater for Brenda. Make a sweater for Brenda.......

One of the things that Ingrid didn't like about the sweater was the ruffle around the neck. She had leftover wool so gave me that too, in case I wanted a different neck.
And I thought, for sure, I would. A ruffle girl, I'm not. But now that I've tried it on, I'm not so sure. It's not a neckline, I would knit for myself. But I like it.
I love the sweater. And I love generous knitters. Thank you Ingrid.

Friday, April 17, 2009

What Year?

I start my knit-group Thursdays by gathering 'blog fodder'. I walk around the room, taking pictures and talking to knitters about their projects.

Yesterday, once I sat down to my own knitting, Ingrid returned the favour. She asked what I was knitting.

In a deflated, dejected tone, I answered "I'm working on my Easter Topper, but Easter's over. So it's late."

"Easter 2010", laughed Ingrid. "You didn't specify what year."

Of course. She's right. It's all in the attitude. Gone were thoughts of late, overdue, goals not met, failed attempts, slow, tardy etc.etc.etc.

Now my mind was in an optimistic frame, swirling with words like - oh let's say - EARLY!!!!

And it spurred my knitting. Here's the topper now.
Down to 'below the bust' and ready for waist shaping. I have taken a break from body and am working on sleeve number one.
Based on the Tivoli Tee, which has no sleeves, I thought maybe I should see if I could make the sleeve thing work, before knitting the entire body. After all, I am aiming for a 'tee' not a cami.
Notice the nice touch of colour at the bottom of the sleeve? Meant to pick up on the colours planned for the waist shaping. At least, that 's the current vision.

And thanks to Ingrid, it will be done in lots of time. Early even.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursdays Are For Knit Group And Survivor

A man in our midst.
Megan brought her husband along today- just to prove she really does have one. Until last Tuesday, Rick and Megan had not seen each other for five months as Rick is stuck still in Australia settling things there before coming to Canada. Last week Megan didn't show up for knit group. Hmmmmm.

Megan is wearing her lovely Bamboo vest. She found the pattern here on Elann. It looks so much better on Megan than the model. Three cheers for that negative ease, Megan.

Poetic Pat - in the blue sweater - stood to recite her Lady Godiva poem for Rick.
A good looking man audience sure does bring out the 'ham' in Pat.

Then it was down to knitting. Sandy B is working on a baby outfit made with sock yarn. Isn't that charming?

When we finally got Poetic Pat to concentrate on her knitting she showed us the pattern
for the sweater she just started.

And Ingrid has found her next project.
Bet she makes it with Koigu!

On to Survivor. Coach is fast losing ground for the title of most-annoying player. Tyson has passed him for sure. I have a few opinions as to why Tyson acts as he does. But whatever the reason, he's my choice for next to go. Let's see if it happens tonight.